Nigeria is participating at the ongoing Climate Change Conference holding in Durban, South Africa. PEMBI STEPHEN-DAVID writes on the challenges of climate change on the country and what the agency charged with the responsibility of managing these challenges is doing.
Nigeria is a developing economy and has issues to tackle to upgrade from this status; Nigeria also needs to catch up with emerging trends around the world.
Climate change in Nigeria is said to be responsible for erosion, floods, drought and desertification.
Climate change adaptation submits that support infrastructure are put in place in event of these desolations. Adapting to climate change for Nigeria is not completely an issue of climate change but an issue of development in fixes that will improve the quality of lives in the country. So with or without climate change, Nigeria needs to improve on infrastructure which will see climate change adaptation benefit.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency NIMET is the designated aeronautical meteorological service provider as required by International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO convention. The agency is therefore committed to collaborate with relevant authorities like FAAN, NAMA, NCAA, NCAT and AIB to provide service for passenger’s comfort and safety as well as efficiency and security in the aviation industry.
The ongoing 2011 United Nations Conference on Climate Change of Durban, South Africa has the primary focus to secure a global climate agreement such as cooperation on clean technology, forest protection, adaptation to climate impact and finance, promised transfer of funds from rich to poor countries.
Nigeria is right now participating in all of these agreements in Durban as a member nation. The Director General of NIMET, Dr. Anthony Anuforum is representing the country on the global climate change agreements.
Aviation is proven to be the safest means of transportation compared to Inland water ways, rail and land transport globally, but between 2003 and 2006 the aviation sector witnessed massive failure through several aircraft accidents that claimed lives and property.
That ill fated development jettisoned the capacity and existing infrastructure in the sector to properly manage air travels locally.
It was a challenging moment to key players in the sector at a time when government transformation agenda and strategic plan was to restructure relevant sectors of the economy to add value and impetus to government business.
Amidst this ugly trend, NIMET increased its speed in the massive development of infrastructure at the nation’s airports. It procured and installed Low Level Wind Shear Alert Systems at the Ikeja International Airport, Kano and Port-Harcourt, and this was a requirement of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Nigeria is a member of the United Nations and joins in recent year-end meetings conveyed by the UN to have nations agree in a deal to curb emissions. These meetings also feature talks on carbon credit, carbon trading and technology transfer.
Developing nations that believe they are the most hurt in event of climate change tell developed nations that are also top polluters to commit funds to help them adapt to climate change. This has seen some progress and may be more effective towards the middle of this decade.
Adaptation should be supreme if Nigeria is talking climate change. Adaptation here comes because of ‘climate change’ but the original objective should be development using smarter solutions and designs. Why would the nation’s airports be under developed to cope with the challenges of climate change?
Why will a drainage channel construction and maintenance not be a priority for areas prone to floods and erosion? Will climate change also be blamed in event of these desolations without adequate precaution for the future? Developing economies usually blame developed economies for the global climate woes but contribute around 50 per cent of GHGs presently.
China is a developing economy and a top carbon emitter in the world, China for the coming COP17 cancels any hope of a deal and passes blame of un-seriousness to developed nations. ‘If’ developed nations agree within the next few days for a deal, can China do seeing the contribution of coal and fossil fuels to industries in China and to part of living conditions in rural China.
Nigeria if passing blame also needs to look back a little and ask if we can cope ‘if’ a legally binding MRV (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) is ratified at the COP17 conference.
Energy emitted from houses around the country where changes can’t for now come, increasing tons of emissions from vehicles in cities that spend hours in traffic daily and many more.
The belief is that conditions for parties to the UN deal will be different for their emission share and level of development; this should be appropriate but no one might want to ‘play the fool’ for other nations hiding under the cover of ‘developing’ for infrastructural setting. India for example is a developing economy and is a top polluting nation, so how is that really placed? These factors and more are making the UN deal complicated towards ratification anytime soon.
Significantly, Nigeria is committed to provide needed infrastructure through NIMET to cope with the challenges of climate change if funds are sourced to consolidate and be on top of the situation.
This form of challenges that require huge resources cannot be subjected to budgetary provision alone, just like the United States of America committed over 13 trillion naira to recover and prevent the damage caused by climate change.
Nigeria is ill prepared in terms of adaptation and prevention of desertification, erosion and draught, considering the low budgetary provisions and little or no aid from stakeholders globally, each country is battling with similar problems.
But NIMET has recently constructed and commissioned a National Weather Forecasting and Climate Change Research Centre to provide efficient climate services to combat the negative impacts of climate change, it will engage in coordinated operational and research activities in the areas of applied meteorology, Weather Forecasting, Climate Modeling and Climate information services.
The agency has in recent times concerned itself with building strategic infrastructure to cope with the increasing change in climate, erosion and draught.
Only last month, the minister of Aviation Princes Stella Odua commissioned the Doppler Weather Rader installed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, where she stressed that safety is not a subject of compromise.
Also speaking at the event was the Director General NIMET Dr. Anthony Anuforom who described the equipment as high-tech state of the art designed to provide meteorological products for the aviation sector as well as other application areas such as real time early warning system for agriculture, public weather services, flood forecasting, dust storms among others.
Developed nations are onto reality positing 2020 as a time for a legally binding deal for many reasons. Most developing nations should also get into the shades of reality by avoiding bickering that make it seem like other-than-a-deal goal in pursued. A suggestion already presents that Top Polluting Nations meet in 2012 for talks on how to move backward from their emission average.
This meeting will involve leaders and not ministers and will include nations like India, Nigeria, China, South Africa, Japan, USA and a little more. This meeting will submit all possibilities and present more talks than the COP17 meeting with differing purpose.
There are so many issues lined with climate change and the front-liners whose steps should encourage Nigeria and a few developing nations for action are into issues that they probably believe are more important than a changing climate and a more complicated weather.
Nigeria instead of staying in this oscillating global warming debate should purse development and advancement rigorously which at the latter end will benefit adaptation and mitigation efforts; this also will make Nigeria better prepared when the front-liners are ready for concerted effort.